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Macao to kick off border checkpoint expansion
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The expansion project of the Border Gate checkpoint that links Macao and the Chinese mainland will be launched on June 11, and upon completion, the border post is capable of handling up to 500,000 people per day, official source said on Monday.

Following the 171-million-pataca-expansion project (21.4 million US dollars), the area of the border post will increase from 17,880 square meters to 23,120 square meters, enabling the authorities to increase the number of attendance booth from 52 to 98, and expand automatic points for Macao residents five-fold, according to the Infrastructure Development office (GDI) of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government.

The Lotus Flower Bridge and the Border Gate checkpoints are the only two land routes that connect the SAR and the neighboring Zhuhai, a coastal city located in southern China.

The Border Gate, which currently can process up to 300,000 people a day, remained the main route for visitors to enter Macao, as over five million arrivals were logged during the first four months of this year, rising by 14.4 percent year-on-year, according to the SAR's Statistics and Census Service (DSEC).

However, the expansion project will also cut the areas for cross-border vehicle traffic, the number of which is expected to be decreased from 24,000 vehicles per day to 21,600, according to the GDI.

The move is part of the authorities' effort to ease the rising traffic pressure over the Border Gate area, as the number of visitors continued to soar in recent years. Last year, the island city received 27 million people, according to the DSEC figures.

(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2008)

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